published on April 13, 2016 - 1:49 AM
Written by The Business Journal Staff

(AP) — Animal rescuers in Southern California were surprised when X-rays revealed an emaciated coyote found badly wounded at the bottom of an empty reservoir was pregnant.

They were even more surprised when the animal — blinded by a bullet and near death when it was discovered in February — gave birth a month later to a litter of five healthy puppies.

Julia Di Sieno of the Animal Rescue Team in Solvang said the coyote likely wandered the Santa Ynez Valley north of Santa Barbara for weeks after being shot.

The animal was bleeding and having trouble breathing when Di Sieno climbed down 30 feet into the stone-and-mortar reservoir Feb. 11 and loaded it on a gurney. She named the wounded coyote Angel.

Examinations revealed the coyote had been shot between the eyes.

“What this animal endured is beyond comprehension,” Di Sieno told the Los Angeles Times for a story Wednesday ( “When she had puppies, I didn’t know whether to cry in sadness or for joy.”

She plans to care for the puppies until they are mature enough to be released in the surrounding mountains. Di Sieno hopes to keep Angel as a surrogate mother for young coyotes that her nonprofit rescues. But first she has to persuade the state Department of Fish and Wildlife not to euthanize it. In California, possession of a coyote is illegal unless permitted by the state.

Fish and Wildlife spokesman Andrew Hughan told the Times the agency is looking for a reasonable solution.

“The department appreciates Julia and the rescue team’s efforts to save this coyote and other wildlife,” he said. “We’ve worked closely with her over the years and appreciate her passion for rescuing imperiled wildlife.”

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